Geriatric Simulators Teach Empathy to Future Health Care Workers in California

Kathy Thompson, LVN, is an instructor at the Health Academy at La Sierra High School in Riverside, CA. A partnership with the county office, the high school, Kaiser Permanente and local universities and colleges, the academy has been in place since 1991 as a way to offer health care pathway training to students who may not otherwise have exposure to these careers. Thompson’s senior students spend the fall semester at the school learning how to care for patients, then spend four days a week at the local hospital in various departments alongside health care professionals.

“I very much like the hands-on activities that drive home the realities of aging,” Thompson explained. “When working with adolescents, they are so invincible. It is good for them to experience the vulnerability of the elderly and for them to live in their shoes, even if for a class period.”

In the spring of 2018, she saw Realityworks’ Geriatric Sensory Impairment Kit and Geriatric Medication Management Simulation Kit in action at the California Educating for Careers conference and decided they would be a good addition to her program. Designed for secondary and postsecondary education programs, these kits allow users to experience a variety of age-related physical challenges. The director of the program saw Thompson’s enthusiasm for the geriatric training simulators and was able to support the addition to the program thanks to available finances through grant funds.

“At 17 or 18, the students have no real concept of what it is like to age,” Thompson observed. “Students were hesitant to even touch the elderly and could not relate to their circumstances of living. I had no way to help prepare them for this part of the experience.”

Thompson made a two-week unit using the two kits and the accompanying curricula. She addresses one lesson per class; students must take notes during a slide presentation, experience the impact of the specific condition and reflect on the impact.

Read the rest of Kathy Thompson’s story here.

Learn more about the Realityworks Geriatric Sensitivity Training Tools here.

The Global Need for Agriculture Education

As the population of the Earth continues to grow, so does the demand for food and the need for agriculture education and training.

To feed 9.1 billion people by 2050 we need to…

  • Increase food production by 70%
  • Invest $83 billion annually in developing countries

The agriculture industry is the single largest employer in the world:

  • Agriculture employs more than 24 million American workers (17% of the total U.S. workforce)
  • Globally, 40% of the population works in agriculture

Seeing the growing demand that will be placed on the agriculture industry, many school districts are beginning to add agriculture career pathways to their career and technical education programs. For tips on how to develop a comprehensive program take a few minutes to watch this webinar – Creating an engaging agriculture pathway: The fundamentals you need to jump-start your own program.

Resources for Starting a Health Science Pathway

When you begin to build your health science pathway plan of study, there are many places you can start and resources to go to. Here are a few to help you get started or even to help revamp and existing program:

Plan of Study Worksheets – Advance CTE has put together a great page featuring the 16 Career Clusters from the National Career Clusters Framework along with the pathways that fall under each cluster. The website, www.careertech.org/career-clusters, has links to each cluster and tools like Knowledge & Skills Statements and editable Plans of Study worksheets.

Six Key Elements of Career Pathways – Career Pathways Toolkit: A Guide for System Development is another great resource and includes the Six Key Elements of Career Pathways. It was designed by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration and the Manhattan Strategy Group to help guide local and state teams through the essential components necessary for developing a comprehensive career pathways system.

Common Career Technical Core Standards – One very helpful place to go is cte.careertech.org and the Common Career Technical Core Standards for Health Science.  They include specific measurable performance objectives for the Health Science Career Cluster in General and as well as each pathway within the cluster.  Review the standards that apply to the pathway you are developing to ensure that you are teaching these basic core competencies in your program.  This is part of the 6 key elements where you are designing the education and training programs.

Industry-Recognized Certifications – There are several organizations to look to when it comes to certifications. The NHA currently offers 8 certifications which can be found on their website: https://www.nhanow.com/certifications NOCTI has 5 different categories of related certifications: Job Ready, Pathway, State Collaboration, Employability Skills and Certificate & Partner. The American Medical Certification Association has many certifications available in 3 categories: Clinical Certification, Administration Certification and Career Advancement/Secondary Certifications.

National Organizations with Assessments or Competitions – The National Consortium for Health Science Education (NCHSE) offers a Health Science Assessment. The assessment adds the credibility of a national certification of achievement, satisfies Perkins requirements for technical attainment, validates student mastery of foundational healthcare knowledge and skills, and can shape curriculum delivery through teacher reports identifying students’ success and areas of greatest need by standard.  Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) sponsors dozens of knowledge and skills competitions at the state and national level relating to a wide variety of health science topics. HOSA Offers 56 Competitive Events that are aligned to the National Healthcare Foundation and Accountability Criteria outlined by the National Consortium for Health Science Education.

For more great information and resources on starting your health science pathway, take a few minutes to check out our latest webinar below: